29 August, 2008

May My Books Burn

I'm usually mightily offended when ignorant fuckwits burn books. The world has lost countless irreplacable manuscripts because some rabid religious freaks got it into their heads that either some or all books are intolerably wicked and must suffer the same fate as witches, heretics, and scientists.

It makes me sick when I think of Christians burning the library at Alexandria. One of the greatest repositories of learning in the ancient world reduced to ashes, all for the sake of some podunk tribal god from Israel with delusions of grandeur and an allergy to education.

It outrages me to look over the horribly long list of notable book burnings at Wikipedia, and realize this reflects only a fraction of the destruction.

I can't stand the raving dumbasses who would destroy what they don't understand.

So you might be surprised to learn that I was delighted when J.K. Rowling's books were consigned to the pyre. (I know, I know - which time, right?) I'll tell you what I was thinking: for one thing, the burners were proving just how insane fundamentalist religion is, and for another, they had to buy the books.

I love the fact they have to shell out money to the author to indulge in their little fits.

That's why I giggled again when Dispatches from the Culture Wars announced yet another Rowling roast. Rowling has sold - let me consult teh Google - ah, yes, nearly half a million billion books by now. My outrage meter only hits the red when something irreplacable is burned by religious frothers. I don't think they're going to manage half a million any time soon. Harry Potter will be passed down to posterity, and all will be well.

Not to mention, it got me to thinking...

What can I do to ensure my books are also burned?

Book sales. Free publicity. Proof that I'm hated by all the right people.

This would be fantastic.

Now mind you, it saddens me that we live in a society where people think that burning books is a fine idea, and where a sizable minority of the population is this ignorant and intolerant. That's bad. But since they're here, and since we haven't figured out a way to rid ourselves of them, we might as well milk them for all they're worth.

So here's a thought: perhaps I should offer bulk discounts for fundies who want to make an example of my immortal prose. I could send out fliers with helpful bullet points (and lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and FONT SIZE CHANGES and PRETTY COLORS!!1!1!!) enumerating everything evil in my novels. I should probably set up a website with nifty little tools for planning a book burning and helpful links to distributors of books, lighter fluid, and marshmallows. I might even go round to churches, wearing little satin devil horns and describing what makes me the Antichrist. I could pay people to wear sandwich boards, hand out leaflets, and phone pastors, urging people to consign this terrible evil to the fire.

For the reasonable price of, oh, say, $19.98 per hardcover, $3.98 per paperback, minimum order of 100 copies.

And if this thing really takes off, consider the tie-ins. Effigies of the author. How-to videos. CDs of cheery songs to sing while the evil books burn. T-shirts. The possibilities are endless.

Should be relatively easy to get fundies to bite. After all, in the very first novel in the series, we've got gay main characters, not to mention godless civilizations and probably a billion other things I haven't identified that are sure to get the fundies foaming.

And just wait until we get to the part of the series set in the modern age and you see what's said about evangelical Christianity. Whoo-boy. Mind you, those bits were written before I became an evil atheist, and indeed many were written before I'd even left the last vestiges of Christianity behind. You can well imagine what it's going to look like now.

Wait till they get a load of the beastiality... heh. I should earn a bonfire for that one.

So yes, I do indeed hope the fundies are offended enough by my books to burn them. Not only will they be contributing to my upkeep, they'll be giving me a baseball bat to beat them with. After all, if I'm well-known enough to be worthy of a book burning, I shall also be famous enough to have people sit up and take note when I give lectures on exactly why book burners should be laughed out of civilization.

And that will give me a warm feeling much akin to standing by a roaring fire on a cold day.

8 comments:

Rick said...

Um, I think you mean that Rowling has sold nearly half a Billion books.

Despite the honest typo, your point still stands: they are raving wackaloons.

Efrique said...

The Burnings of the Library (3 in all, IIRC - Christians once, Muslims once; I forget who the other one was) were a tradgedy because in many cases what they were burning was the only copy of a text left.

Someone going to a shop and buying a book (or CD or whatever) in order to burn it isn't harming the "work" in the sense that the work still exists in many copies.

If you burn a copy you own, it's perfectly legal and above board, and dammit, should be legal if you don't break any laws while you're at it (like laws to do with pollution, starting fires in public places etc). It's upsetting (in the sense that I find disrespect for books upsetting in almost any context), but it's no tragedy.

Efrique said...

As a wise man once said, "Trillion, billion, million... aren't they all different words for gazillion?"

Cujo359 said...

A man's greatness can be measured by his enemies. (Don Piatt)

If you're an author and religious fanatics despise your writing enough to burn it, you've done pretty well.

arensb said...

That's the difference between past book-burnings and today's: when there were typically only one or a handful of copies of any given work, the destruction of a manuscript meant that that work was lost.

In these days of mass-production, burning books simply sends the message that "Y'know, those Nazis had the right idea."

(Did I just Godwinate myself?)

Stephanie Zvan said...

I'm so happy to know I'm not the only writer who has this on her list of How to Know When I've Arrived. Given your provocations, though, I don't think I'm working hard enough at it.

Thomas Allen said...

With that description, you've convinced me that I must read your novels.

The Barefoot Bum said...

My wife, an apostate from Islam, will not be satisfied with mere book burning. She's holding out for the fatwa.